Polyurea is More Than a Product--It’s a Technology
According to Grand View Research, Inc. “The Polyurea Market size will grow to $1.40 billion by 2020.” The demand for polyurea will continue to be in high demand for industrial applications and the construction industry. These industries are responsible for driving market growth. Polyurea is a type of elastomer comprised of two components: isocyanate and a synthetic resin blend achieved through a step-growth polymerization.
Polyurea was originally developed as a protectant for tabletop edges. Later, two-component polyurethane and polyurea spray elastomers were developed. It was quickly realized that polyurea would be an ideal product to coat large surface areas because of its fast reactivity and relative moisture resistance.
Uses for Polyurea
Polyurea has been used to coat such items as secondary containment, manholes, tunnels, bridges, railways, pipelines, parking decks, tank liners, roofing, flooring, marine craft, water treatment lining, and truck beds. Furthermore, it has excellent adhesion properties for concrete and steel, provided these surfaces have been prepared and primed properly. It can also be used as an aquarium lining as well as for other types of water containment, such as landscape ponds, water features, and fuel pits. Other applications are spray molding and coating armor. It makes an excellent sealant, joint-filler, calk for most any surface, and is crack-resistant. Polyurea is not resistant to all chemicals; therefore, proper testing should be done before applying any material. Another benefit of polyurea is that it helps prevent bacterial growth. This makes it an idea material for wall cavities and other hard to reach places. Polyurea is also corrosion-resistant, abrasion-resistant, and enhances the structural integrity of the surface to which it is applied.
Some polyurea products provide a tough coating and are capable of strengths of 6000 psi (40MPa) tensile and more than 500% elongation. Several coats can be applied to a surface quickly due to polyurea’s fast drying or cure time. A property of one polyurea elastomer-based material is its melding together or “self-healing” ability. Even when the material is cut, it can fuse or back together again, and this re-bonding process can be repeated. Polyurea is more than a product. It is a technology. Inexpensive commercial compounds are available.
Polyurea can be applied using commercially available plural-component spray equipment. The type of equipment typically used to perform a project includes, but is not limited to, a spray gun capable of impingement-mixing in order to properly mix the component materials inside the gun, heated hoses, a power supply (such as a generator), a transfer pump, drum heaters, drums of material (normally in 55 gallon containers), and safety equipment. Mobile spray rigs can be purchased as is or customized to house all equipment, supplies, and materials to transport them to each job site. The mobile spray rig keeps equipment out of harsh weather conditions and allows crew member to perform maintenance is a clean, dry environment. An innovative application process is the automated spray machine which is a power-driven machine that requires only one person to operate, thereby reducing crew size. It is efficient and faster than traditional application methods.
There are a number of options to secure proper training; however, make sure that certification is included. It is a good idea to take the classes where the spray equipment is also sold. This way, trainees can understand how the equipment they will be purchasing works and how it should be maintained. Reputable polyurea equipment dealers should be able to answer all tech questions in order to help trainees succeed in the business. For more information on free training, see the article on Spray Polyurethane Foam Chemical Health and Safety Training.
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